Titbits on writing a great Personal Statement for school applications
A personal statement is one of the most vital documents evaluated when applying to a university. A well-written essay is essential and goes a long way to determine the success of your applications. It allows showing off your accomplishments in academics, skills, extracurricular activities participated in your previous study, and future goals. Anything at all, as long as it is relevant to the course to which you are applying! This is a chance to represent yourself to stand out from the other students competing to gain admission into a university. With this being noted, your write-up should be original, unique, reflective, engaging, interesting, and well organized. Here are some tips to guide you and get you started.
- Plan your write-up – There is no standard method for writing your personal statement. However, having a plan enables you to follow a logical order that covers all relevant areas necessary to produce a great essay. Investigate the information required of you. This is usually available on the university’s website. Most universities provide ideas or guidelines of what needs to be included in your personal statement. This can be very helpful and can further give insights on what to write and how to go about it. Brainstorming and researching the course(s) you are interested in studying is essential in this planning stage. From this, you will be able to write down your thoughts and reasons why you want to pursue a specific course. Use the information you have gathered in your investigation, brainstorming, and researching process to make a draft of the main ideas of your essay.
- Develop a clear structure for your personal statement – Structuring makes your essay organized and gives flow for the reader to understand. In this stage, you should strategize to separate your write-up into introduction, body, and conclusion. The information or ideas obtained in the planning stage can be used to form the base of the essay. The introduction should show your motivation or enthusiasm about the course(s) you are applying for. The body covers areas such as your “why you have chosen a course”, “why and how the course will be beneficial to you”, “why you are the right fit for the course” or your suitability to be admitted. The body of your essay should demonstrate your preparedness to study the course. Moreover, academic abilities, interests, experiences, and skills can be discussed in the body. To conclude, summarize the key points highlighted in your personal statement. Remember to add your goals or plans for the future and how the course will help you achieve those goals.
- Get writing! – Writing a personal statement can be draining and daunting. I agree! You may wonder where to start or what your introductory line should be. Do not stress or waste too much time figuring out a “catchy” opening to start writing your personal statement. Remember your opening does not need to be overblown to create a good impression on the admission tutors. Write what comes to mind. However, keep your statement professional, personal, simple, and engaging. If you are still struggling and cannot think of anything to put together, move on to write the body. I believe it is more specific and will generate ideas for the introduction (your motivation for applying). For the body of your essay, remember to explain the points made. Just listing or mentioning points without elaborating is not advisable. For instance, including a list of your interests or skills. Emphasize on 1 or 2 points and demonstrate its relevance to your application or study.
- What not to write – Avoid writing cliché phrases such as “I have always…”, “Since childhood…”, “From a young age…”. Be cautious of including a joke or quote from a famous person in your statement. The admissions tutor may not share your sense of humor or find our quote interesting. Just write in your voice. Do not make up things or stories to include in your write-up. Remember originality is preferred!
- Rounding up – Check your spellings, grammar and punctuations. Proofread your statement and allow your teachers, mentors, friends, or relatives to go through it as well. Pay attention to word/character limits. Remember to be clear and concise.
Of course! I cannot put together all the tips for writing. The internet is a good source for looking out for writing guidelines. However, be wary of information made available on writing a personal statement for your school application.